In this paper, a dynamic stochastic resonance (DSR)-based technique in singular value domain for contrast enhancement of dark images has been presented. The internal noise due to the lack of illumination is utilized using a DSR iterative process to obtain enhancement in contrast, colorfulness as well as perceptual quality. DSR is a phenomenon that has been strategically induced and exploited and has been found to give remarkable response when applied on the singular values of a dark low-contrast image. When an image is represented as a summation of image layers comprising of eigen vectors and values, the singular values denote luminance information of each such image layer. By application of DSR on the singular values using the analogy of a bistable double-well potential model, each of the singular values is scaled to produce an image with enhanced contrast as well as visual quality. When compared with performance of some existing spatial domain enhancement techniques, the proposed DSR-SVD technique is found to give noteworthy better performance in terms of contrast enhancement factor, color enhancement factor and perceptual quality measure. © 2012 Springer-Verlag London Limited.